Wednesday morning news briefing: Blitz on the age of Trump

Danny Boyle
·5 min read
Donald Trump has still not admitted defeat in the November election - Blower
Donald Trump has still not admitted defeat in the November election - Blower

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New president will target tax cuts and 'Muslim ban'

It is all change at the White House. Joe Biden will sweep away some of Donald Trump's most controversial policies hours after taking office as he is sworn in as America's 46th president today. Shortly after assuming power at noon (5pm GMT), Mr Biden will sign about a dozen executive orders and other presidential actions. He is expected to remove Mr Trump's so-called "Muslim ban" limiting immigration from mainly Muslim-majority countries, sign America back up to the Paris Climate Agreement and consider reversing some tax cuts. Much of Mr Biden's focus will be on tackling the pandemic and its economic effects. Read a full prediction of what we can expect from his first 100 days. Mr Biden appeared overcome by emotion as he began the journey to Washington.

Early today, Mr Trump pardoned or commuted the sentences of 143 people - including his ex-strategist Steve Bannon, who is facing fraud charges. Earlier, Mr Trump said in a farewell statement that America should "pray" for the new administration, hinting that he still planned to pursue political ambitions. Mr Trump, who has still not admitted election defeat, will be absent from today's inauguration - which will be very different to previous ceremonies due to security threats. Follow live. As Mary Beard writes, history tells us succession can be brutal.

Public against rush to ease lockdown, say ministers

The public does not back a rapid easing of lockdown, ministers believe, as they plot a cautious timetable for lifting Covid restrictions. We understand early March has been earmarked to move the first areas out of lockdown, but only into the toughest tiers - with little further easing expected by Easter. A Whitehall source said the prevailing mood was to take decisions steadily to avoid reimposing restrictions later. Remind yourself of Tier 4 rules and search for confirmed Covid case numbers by postcode. Matt has a gag about social distancing in today's cartoon.

How Princess Anne became a fashion muse

The Princess Royal - not prone to forays into the world of high fashion - would perhaps give short shrift to the idea of herself as a style muse. But the 70-year-old has inspired the latest collection by Italian designer Lorenzo Serafini, who praised her "effortless look", adding: "I was a fan long before The Crown." View some of Princess Anne's strongest looks.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Ex-PM's verdict | Theresa May has accused Boris Johnson of surrendering Britain's "global moral leadership" in her most outspoken attack to date on her successor. The former prime minister claimed Mr Johnson had failed to live up to "our values" by threatening to break international law in Brexit negotiations and suspending commitments on foreign aid spending. Political Editor Gordon Rayner says Mrs May's intervention today is likely to be seen as a score-settling exercise.

Around the world: Ice man's religious dip

Vladimir Putin stripped off a fur coat and crossed himself before entering the -20C waters of Lake Seliger, 240 miles north of Moscow. The Russian president's bath, in waters blessed by a priest, was part of a ceremony to mark Epiphany. View today's gallery of world pictures.

The Russian president sits in icy waters during the celebration - MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP
The Russian president sits in icy waters during the celebration - MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP

Comment and analysis

You've got this: Getting you through lockdown

  1. Upgrade your loungewear | The seven smart swaps to make now

  2. Lockdown hobbies | The uncomfortable truth about 'demented housewives'

  3. Power napping | It is my superpower - and in six simple steps it can be yours too

Business and money briefing

Covid payouts | More than half a million freelancers excluded from state support could be handed a last-minute lifeline by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Newly self-employed workers who missed out on previous payouts worth up to £21,500 could finally qualify for help next month if the Treasury agrees to expand its scheme following pressure from MPs.

Sport briefing

Foxes dream again | Leicester moved a point clear of Man United at the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Chelsea. Wilfred Ndidi and James Maddison struck in the first half to secure the victory and raise hopes of repeating their title success. Read our match report.

Tonight's dinner

Lamb tagine | Inauthentic, but delicious: try this gently spiced stew by Stephen Harris for a comforting supper. View the recipe and try out our Cookbook newsletter.

And finally... for this morning's downtime

New Renaissance | The V&A's new-look gallery - plus fresh digital insights - will transform how we see the tapestries Raphael designed for the Sistine Chapel. Chief Art Critic Alastair Sooke says his cartoons never looked as beautiful as this.